As 1st dose and full dose vaccination rates continue to rise and the world adapts to managing the pandemic, many people are returning to in-person work. For some workers, this is an exciting time. However, others may feel anxious after over two years of remote work. To combat these mixed feelings about returning in-person, many leaders are engaging with staff to rebuild the work paradigm supplementing in-person work with hybrid options and flexibility. However, healthcare is in a unique spot because healthcare staff never truly switched to virtual work. Healthcare workers shouldered the worst of the pandemic and saw drastic changes to their workflows. Many healthcare workers felt As masking mandates change and visitation restrictions are lifted, healthcare staff will again have to adjust. To make this transition, care teams need to be provided with support and to feel heard.
A survey conducted by the Physicians Foundation in August 2021 found that 61% of physicians “experienced burnout often.” This is a 53% percent increase since 2018, where anxiety, work overload, and lack of organizational support all contributed to these feelings of burnout (Gliadkovskaya). On top of this, mixed feelings about masking policies and public dissatisfaction over guidelines have left healthcare workers feeling anxious about getting back into routine office visits. Thus, it is important that we create a post-pandemic culture where everyone (patients, care teams, families) feels included, mentally and psychologically safe and supported.
Now is a critical moment for healthcare leaders to ask their team “What matters to you?”. Giving care providers a psychologically safe space to voice their concerns creates a culture of trust, inclusiveness, and mutual understanding. In a recent survey, receiving more recognition, opening lines of communication, and access to PPE and mental health resources were all identified by nurses as ways to support their wellbeing (Berlin et al). goShadow data reflects this as well. A survey of 1706 respondents revealed communication, access to resources (PPE and equipment), staffing, and workload burden as the top 4 barriers to satisfaction at work. Safer and improved patient outcomes can be achieved if healthcare workers are supported and given the resources they need to thrive while doing their job.
The pandemic put an unprecedented burden on healthcare workers, but these lessons learned can be used for positive change. To learn more about our tools and how you can support your organization, visit goshadow.org to download our free resources.
Berlin, Gretchen, et al. “Nursing in 2021: Retaining the Healthcare Workforce When We Need It Most.” McKinsey & Company, McKinsey & Company, 1 July 2021, https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/nursing-in-2021-retaining-the-healthcare-workforce-when-we-need-it-most.
Gliadkovskaya, Anastassia. “New Survey Finds Covid-19 Is Taking a Significant Toll on Physicians.” Fierce Healthcare, 10 Aug. 2021, https://www.fiercehealthcare.com/practices/new-survey-finds-significant-toll-covid-19-physicians
April 8, 2022